Saints sign Dutch winger Elia on loan

Werder Bremen's Dutch winger Eljero Elia has played 28 times for Holland (AFP Photo/Patrik Stollarz)

London (AFP) - Southampton have agreed to sign Werder Bremen's Dutch international winger Eljero Elia on loan until the end of the season.

Ronald Koeman's side are short of attacking options with Jay Rodriguez's recovery from a cruciate ligament injury taking longer than expected and Senegal's Sadio Mane due to leave for the African Nations Cup next month.

Elia, who has played 28 times for Holland, is seen as the perfect man to bolster Koeman's front three.

The 27-year-old will initially join Saints on loan when the transfer window opens next month, with the option of then making his switch from the Bundesliga outfit permanent at the end of the current campaign.

"Southampton Football Club is delighted to announce that it has reached an agreement over the signing of Eljero Elia," a statement on Southampton's website confirmed.

"The winger will officially join Saints on Saturday 3rd January, initially on loan until the end of the season with a view to a permanent transfer next summer."

Koeman had admitted his interest in Elia earlier in the day, saying: "He is one of the players on our list to bring in January.

"We need at least one more player up front because we lose Sadio Mane in January for the Africa Cup. We need another player for that position and he is a good option."

Elia, who is known for his blistering pace and direct forward runs, established himself as one of the brightest young talents in Europe at FC Twente and was named Dutch Football Talent of the Year in 2009.

The 27-year-old struggled to fulfil his early promise during subsequent moves to Hamburg and Juventus but has enjoyed more stability at Bremen, where he made 33 league appearances last season.